MARION — Town Administrator James McGrail and AARP Age-Friendly Community Initiative Committee Chair Jeanne Daly are pleased to announce that the Town of Marion has received AARP Age-Friendly Community Certification.
The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, a program within the larger AARP Livable Communities initiative, provides communities with the resources to become more age-friendly and livable for people of all ages, especially older adults. It recognizes that the population of the U.S. is rapidly aging, and aims to help communities prepare for this trend.
Age-Friendly Network membership signifies that a community’s leadership has made a commitment to actively work with residents and local advocates to make their town, city, county, or state an age-friendly place to live. Members then create a Community Action Plan demonstrating how they will work to support older adults in their community. Marion is one of fewer than 100 current AARP Age-Friendly Communities in Massachusetts.
The town’s certification represents two years of work by a joint committee of Council on Aging (COA) volunteers and Friends of Marion COA (FMCOA) members, culminating in AARP approval of Marion’s Community Action Plan.
Action plans are based on the results of community surveys identifying needs within the AARP-identified 8 Domains of Livability that influence the health and quality of life of older adults. The domains include: Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, Work and Civic Engagement, Communication and Information, and Community and Health Services.
Initiatives may focus on areas such as housing, caregiving, community engagement, volunteering, social inclusion, and combating isolation among older community members. The community initiatives, policies and programs put into place as part of the plan, while focused on concerns for seniors, will benefit people of all ages.
The COA has begun to implement portions of the action plan. Town officials are evaluating ways in which aspects of the plan can be incorporated into the town’s Master Plan.
“This is an important initiative that will provide resources and programs to improve the quality of life of our seniors, as well as all of our community members,” Chair Daly said. “We look forward to seeing how the aspects of our action plan provide support to residents as they age, and ensure seniors have a voice and opportunities within our community. This is a great accomplishment for our community, and I would like to thank all of the members of the committee for their work toward this certification, and the work they will continue to do on behalf of our seniors.”
The AARP Age-Friendly Community Initiative Committee, chaired by Daly, included FMCOA President Merry Conway, Dianne Cosman, COA Director Karen Gregory, Dr. Edward Hoffer of the Board of Health, Joan Martin, Harry Norweb and Helen Westergard.
Learn more about the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities here.